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Better Than Public Transportation Part 1: Car Sharing

Posted in Commuter Cars, Gas Prices, Parking, Roads, Traffic, Travel by Vito Rispo | September 22nd, 2008 | 1 Response |

Public transportation sucks. That just how it is. It’s a rigid, poorly run system that very commonly goes into debt. But everyone in the city can’t own a car, it’d be a congestion nightmare. There needs to be a solution, a free market solution that doesn’t rely on the government to mess it up. Luckily one is starting get popular.

I’m always interested in free market solutions to social problems…like pay-as-you-drive car insurance and privately owned bridges and streets. So I love hearing about how popular this new idea is getting. Instead of the bloated system of buses and trains, many people are turning to an efficient, well run alternative that allows you to go anywhere for a very small fee, Car Sharing. Car sharing is growing exponentially in some major US cities.

How car sharing works

Car share companies are basically car rental companies, except they allow people to rent their cars for very short periods of time, down to an hour or less sometimes. Different car sharing companies work in different ways, but generally it’s a decentralized system, with no major hub. Most of the financial transactions are done online. Sometimes there’s a monthly fee, and you generally pay online in advance. You reserve a vehicle in advance as well, although often times the car is available the moment you make the reservation.

The companies usually have arrangements with various parking lots around the city so they can be used as pick up and drop off points. The rates for car sharing companies are generally similar. For example, a popular service in Philadelphia, Philly Car Share, charges $3.90/hour or $39/day, plus 16¢/mile, they offer free rides on rail transit, and everything is included (even gas).

Car sharing strikes the perfect balance between the convenience of owning a car, and the cost savings of using public transportation. It gives you 24-hour access to a network of great, reliable cars and trucks without the hassles of owning a car. Gas, insurance, cleaning, and maintenance costs are all included in the carsharing fee.

There are eco benefits to car sharing as well. As more city dwellers turn to car sharing instead of owning a car themselves, there will be less harmful emissions and less traffic. Plus the cars that car sharing companies use are newer, more fuel efficient cars; that in itself decreases the impact on the environment. Car sharing means less pollution, less traffic congestion, and more available parking. It also means more transportation options for people who can’t afford to own a car. It’s a great solution to a common problem in all major cities, all thanks to the free market.

Next Free Market Solution to the Public Transportation Problem: Jitney Transit

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One Response

  1. Dave Brook says:

    Your summary of carsharing may convey the wrong idea: carsharing goes hand in hand with public transportation. Carsharing is an alternative to owning a car or owning a two cars. But it really only works if you don’t need to drive every day – because your ride a bike, carpool or take public transportation for certain other trips. Carsharing for trips that need flexibility; transit for commuting and ones where parking could be a problem.